Black Art and
Abrose by Guy
“... The Naytives of the Seacoast told me many fearsome Tales of
these Magycians, or Voodoos, as they called Them. It would seem that
the Mystic Powers of these Magycians is hereditary, and that the
Spells, Incantacions, and other Secretts of their Profession are passed
on One to the Other and holden in great Awe by the People. The Marke of
this horride Culte is the Likeness of a great Human Eye, carved in the
Fleshe of the Backe, which rises in Ridges as it heals and lasts
—Extract from “A Truthful Accounte of a Voyage and Journey
to the Land of Afrique, Together with Numerous Drawings and
Mappes, and a most Humble Petition Regarding the Same.”
Presented by Roberte Waiting, Gent. in London, Anno D. 1651.
A few blocks west of the subway, and therefore off the beaten track
of the average New Yorker, is San Juan Hill. If you ever happen on San
Juan unawares, you will recognize it at once by its clustering family
of mammoth gas houses, its streets slanting down into the North River,
and the prevailing duskiness of the local complexion. If you chance to
stray into San Juan after sundown, you will be relieved to note that
policemen are plentiful, and that they walk in pairs. This last
observation describes the social status of San Juan or any other
neighbourhood better than volumes of detailed episodes could begin to
Of late years many of the Fust Famblies of San Juan have migrated
northward to the teeming negro districts of Harlem, but enough of the
old stock remains to lend the settlement its time-honoured touch of
gloom. Occasionally, too, it still makes its way to the public notice
by sanguinary affrays and race riots. San Juan Hill is a geographical,
racial, and sociological fact, and will remain so until the day when
safety razors become a universal institution.
San Juan is a community in itself. It has its churches, its clubs,
its theatres, its stores, and—sighs of relief from the police—it
used to have its saloons. It is a cosmopolitan community, too—as
cosmopolitan as it can be and still retain its Senegambian motif.
Negroes from Haiti, Jamaica, Salvador, Cuba; from Morocco and
Senegal; blue-black negroes from the Pacific; ebony negroes from the
South; brown, tan, yellow, and buff negroes from everywhere inhabit San
Juan. Every language from Arabic to Spanish is spoken by these—the
cosmopolites of cosmopolitan San Juan.
Pussonally, Mr. Ambrose de Vere Travis spoke only English.
Because he hailed from Galveston, Tex., he spoke it with a Gulf
intonation at once liquid, rich, and musical. He stood six feet five on
his bare soles, so his voice was somewhat reminiscent of the Vatican
Ambrose was twenty-four years old. Our story finds him a New Yorker
of three years' standing, all of which he had spent as a dweller on San
Juan Hill. Originally the giant Mr. Travis had served as furnace tender
in the subterraneous portions of the Swalecliffe Arms apartments, that
turreted edifice in the Eighties that frowns across at the Palisades
from Riverside Drive. But his size and the size of his smile had won
for Ambrose the coveted and uniformed position of door-man, a post at
which he served with considerable success and the incidental tips.
The recently wealthy Mr. Braumbauer, for instance, really felt that
he was somebody, when Ambrose opened the door of his car and
bowed him under the portcullis of Swalecliffe. And y'understand me, a
feller's willing he should pay a little something for service once in a
while. And so, one way and another, Ambrose managed to eke from his job
a great deal more than he drew on pay day.
But Mr. Travis's source of income did not stop there—far from it.
He had brought from Galveston a genius for rolling sevens—or, if he
missed seven the first roll, he could generally make his point within
the next three tries. He could hold the dice longer than any man within
the San Juan memory, which, in view of the fact that craps is to San
Juan what bridge is to Boston, is saying a great deal. Ambrose was
simply a demon with the bones, and he was big enough to get away with
True, there had been difficulties.
One evening at the Social Club Ambrose held the dice for a straight
sixteen passes. He and five other courtiers of fortune were bounding
the ivories off the cushion of a billiard table, to the end that the
contest be one of chance and not of science. In the midst of Ambrose's
stentorian protests that the baby needed footwear, one of the losers
forgot his breeding to the extent of claiming that Ambrose had
introduced a loaded die. As he seconded his claims with a razor, the
game met a temporary lull.
When the furniture had ceased crashing, the members of the club
emerged from beneath the pool tables to see Mr. Travis tying up a
slashed hand, while he of the razor lay moaning over a broken shoulder
and exuding teeth in surprising quantities.
After this little incident no one ever so far forgot himself as to
breathe the faintest aspersion on Mr. Travis, his dice, his way of
throwing them down or of picking them up.
It was generally conceded that his conduct throughout the fray had
been of the best, and the affair did much to raise him in popular
esteem—especially as he was able to prove the caviler's charges to be
And so, with his physical beauty, his courage, and his wealth, Mr.
Ambrose de Vere Travis became something of a figure in San Juan's
Just when Ambrose fell in love with Miss Aphrodite Tate is not quite
Aphrodite (pronounced just as spelled) was so named because her
father thought it had something to do with Africa. She was
astoundingly, absolutely, and gratifyingly black, and Ambrose was sure
that he had never seen any one quite so beautiful.
Aphrodite lived with her parents, the ancient and revered
Fremont-Tates, patroons of San Juan. In the daytime she was engaged as
maid by a family that suttingly treated her lovely; while in the
evening she could usually be found at the St. Benedict Young People's
Club. And it was here that Ambrose met her.
True love ran smoothly for a long time. At last, when he felt the
tune was ripe, Ambrose pleaded urgent business for two evenings and
shook down the Social Club dice fanciers for the price of the ring.
Then Mr. Dominique Raffin loomed dark on the horizon. Mr. Raffin did
not loom as dark as he might have loomed, however, because he was half
white. He hailed from Haiti, and was the son of a French sailor and a
transplanted Congo wench. He was slight of build and shifty of eye. His
excuse for being was a genius for music. He could play anything, could
this pasty Dominique, but of all instruments he was at his tuneful best
on the alto saxophone.
“Lawd! Oh, Lawd!” his audience would ejaculate, as with
closed eyes and heads thrown back they would drink in the sonorous
emanations from the brazen tube. “Dat's de horn ob de Angel
Gabriel—dat's de heabenly music ob de spears!” And so Dominique's
popularity grew among the ladies of San Juan, even if among the
gentlemen it did not.
To tell the truth, Dominique was something of a beau. Because he
played in an orchestra, he had ample opportunity to study the
deportment of people who passed as fashionable. His dress was
immaculate; his hair was not so kinky that it couldn't be plastered
down with brilliantine, and he perfumed himself copiously. His fingers
were heavily laden with rings. Dominique's voice was
His native tongue was French, but he had learned to speak English in
Jamaica. Thus his accent was a curious mixture of French and Cockney,
lubricated with oily African.
Altogether, it is not to be wondered that such sturdy sons of Ham as
Ambrose disliked the snaky Mr. Raffin. Disliked him the more when his
various musical and cultural accomplishments made him a general
favourite with the ladies. And then, when he absolutely cut Mr. Travis
from the affections of Miss Tate, the wrath of the blacker and more
wholesome San Juan citizens knew no bounds.
As for Ambrose—he sulked. Even his friends, the fur-lined tenants
of Swalecliffe Arms, noticed that something worried the swart guardian
of their gate. In the evenings Ambrose gave his entire time to frenzied
rolling of the bones and was surprised to see that here, at least, luck
had not deserted him.
On the few occasions when he forsook the green baize for an
evening's dancing at the St. Benedict Young People's Guild, the sight
of the coveted Miss Aphrodite whirling in the arms of the hated Raffin
almost overcame him.
Finally the lovesick Mr. Travis decided to call upon the lady of his
heart and demand an explanation. After some rehearsal of what he wanted
to say, Ambrose betook himself to the tenement in which the Tate family
dwelt. At sight of her cast-off swain, Miss Aphrodite showed the whites
of her eyes and narrowed her lips to a thin straight line—perhaps an
inch and a half thin. Evidently she was displeased.
Aphrodite opened the interview by inquiring why she was being
pestered and intermediated by a low-down black nigger that didn't have
no mo' brains than he had manners. Her feelings was likely to git the
better of her at any moment; in which event Mr. Travis had better watch
out, that was all—jest watch out.
The astounded Mr. Travis did his best to pacify this Amazon; to
explain that he had merely come to inquire the reason for her
displeasure; to learn in what respect Mr. Raffin had proved himself so
The answer was brief and crushing. It seemed that where Mr. Travis
was a big, bulky opener of doors, Mr. Raffin was a sleek and cultured
Chesterfield—a musician—an artist. Where Mr. Travis could not dance
without stepping on everybody in the room, Mr. Raffin was a veritable
Mordkin. Where Mr. Travis hung out with a bunch of no-good
crap-shooting black buck niggers, Mr. Raffin's orchestral duties
brought him into the most cultured s'ciety. In short, the yellow man
from Haiti was a gentleman; the black man from Texas was a boor.
This unexpected tirade made the unhappy Ambrose a trifle weak in the
knees. Then pride came to the rescue, and he drew himself to his full
and towering six feet five. He held out his mammoth hands before Miss
Aphrodite and warned her that with them, at the first provocation, he
would jest take and bust Mr. Raffin in two. This done, he would throw
the shuddering fragments into the street, and with his feet—Exhibit
B—would kick them the entire length and breadth of the neighbourhood.
This threat only aroused new fires of scorn and vituperation, and
Miss Tate informed her guest that, should he ever attempt the punitive
measures described, Mr. Raffin would cut him up into little pieces. It
seemed that Mr. Raffin carried a knife, and that he knew how to use it.
Mr. Travis snorted at this, and stamped out of the Tate apartment.
At his exit, doors closed softly on every floor, because the
neighbours had listened to the tete-a-tete with intense interest. Even
people in the next house had been able to hear most of it.
Ambrose made his furious way toward the Social Club, his mind set on
mortal encounter with the hated Dominique. But—here was an
inspiration!—why not win his money away from him first? To win away
his last cent—to humble him—to ruin him—and then to break him in two
and kick the pieces through the San Juan causeways, as per programme!
This would be a revenge indeed!
Ambrose noted with satisfaction that Mr. Raffin was already at play,
and crossing the smoke-filled room he threw down some money and took
his place in the game.
Now, Mr. Travis was ordinarily a very garrulous and vociferous crap
shooter, but to-night he was savagely silent. There was a disturbing,
electric something in the air that the neutrals felt and feared.
There was a look in the Travis eye that boded ill for somebody, and one
by one the more prudent gamesters withdrew.
Then suddenly the storm broke.
Later accounts were not clear as to just what started the fray, but
start it did.
Dominique's knife appeared from some place, and the table crashed.
Then the knife swished through space like a hornet and buried its point
harmlessly in a door across the room.
What followed is still a subject of wondering conversation on San
It seems that Mr. Travis seized Mr. Raffin by the collar of his
coat, and swung him round and round and over his head. Mr. Raffin
streamed almost straight out, like the imitation airplanes that whirl
dizzily about the tower in an amusement park. Suddenly there was a
rending of cloth, and Dominique shot through the air to encounter the
wall with a soul-satisfying thump.
Ambrose looked bewildered at the torn clothing he held in his hand,
and then at the limp form of his late antagonist. Mr. Raffin lay
groaning, naked from the waist up.
Ambrose strode across to administer further chastisement, but was
halted by a cry from one of the onlookers. This man stood pointing at
Dominique's naked back—pointing, and staring with eyes that rolled
with genuine negro terror.
“Look!” gasped the affrighted one. “Look! It's de Voo-doo Eye—
dat man's a witch! Ambrose, fo' de Lawd's sake, git away from
“What you-all talkin' about?” scoffed Ambrose, striding closer, and
rolling Dominique so that the light shone full on his back. “What
you-all talkin'——Good Lawd”!
This last ejaculation from Ambrose was caused by the sight that met
There, on the yellow back before him, reaching from shoulder to
shoulder, was tattooed the likeness of a great human eye!
Everyone saw it now. To some—the Northern darkies—it meant
nothing. But to the old-school Southern negroes it meant
mystery—magic—death. It was the sign of the Voodoo!
Several of the more superstitious onlookers retreated in poor order,
their teeth chattering. Their mammies had told them about the Voodoo
Eye. They remembered the tales whispered in the slave quarters about
people being prayed to death by these baleful creatures of ill omen!
They weren't going to take any chances!
Ambrose, for all his natural courage, was shaken. He remembered old
Tom Blue, the Texas Voodoo, who poisoned twenty-one people and came to
life after the white men lynched him. And now he had laid rough hands
on one of the deadly clan; had brought upon himself the wrath of a man
who could simply wish him to death!
Trembling, he stooped down and looked at the Devil's Sign. He looked
again—closely. Then he broke out into a ringing peal of wholesome
“Git up!” he shouted, as Dominique showed signs of life. “Git up,
Mr. Voodoo, befo' Ah gits impatient an' throws you out de window!”
This recklessness—this defiance of the dread power—shocked even
the least superstitious of the audience. By this time they were all
under the spell of this mysterious mark. Those who hadn't recognized it
at once had been quickly enlightened by the others.
Ambrose seized Dominique by the shoulder and dragged him to his
feet. Swaying unsteadily, the mulatto looked around him through eyes
closed to snakelike slits.
“Raffin,” said Ambrose, “you-all has on yo' back de Eye ob Voodoo.
Dese gennlemen hyar thinks yo' is a Voodoo. Ah know yo' ain't!”
“I am a Voodoo! An' you, you sacre cochon,” hissed
Raffin, “I'll make you wish you had nevaire been born!”
“Well, jes' fo' de present,” laughed Ambrose, good humour spreading
all over his face, “you-all had better git outa my way, an' stay out! Git outa hyar quick!”
Dominique, his evil face twitching with fury, picked up the ragged
shreds of his coat and walked unsteadily out.
At his exit a dead silence fell upon the remaining members. Then
they gathered together in excited groups and discussed the incident in
heated undertones. Ambrose, quite unconcerned, took up a pack of cards
and commenced a game of solitaire.
He wasn't worrying. He knew that Dominique was no more a Voodoo than
he was. Startled at first, he had noticed that the eye had not been
carved in Dominique's back, as it should have been, but had been
tattooed. This in itself made the thing doubtful. But more than this,
the marks were the unmistakably accurate work of an electric tattooing
Ambrose had spent his youth on the Galveston water front, and knew
tattooing in all its forms. Electric tattooing on a Voodoo was about as
much in keeping with the ancient and awesome dignity of the cult as
spangled tights would be on the King of England. No—it was ridiculous.
Dominique was not a Voodoo!
Ambrose continued his solitaire, humming as he played. Occasionally
he cast an amused eye at the excited groups across the room, and was
not surprised when Mr. Behemoth Scott, president of the club, at last
came over to him.
“Mistah Travis,” began Mr. Scott deferentially, clearing his throat,
“would you-all be good enough to jine our little gatherin' while we
confabulate on dis hyar recent contabulaneous incident?”
“Suttingly, Mr. Scott, suttingly!” said Ambrose, pushing back his
chair, and crossing the room with the quaking official. “What can Ah do
“Well, jest this,” said Mr. Scott. “You gennlemen kin'ly correc' me
or bear out what Ah say. Leavin' aside all argument whether they is
sech things as Voodoos, Ah guess any of you gennlemen from the South
will remember Aunt Belle Agassiz and Tom Blue. Ah guess yo' mammies all
done tole 'bout the African Voodoos, an' how ebery now an' den one of
'em crops up still. An' Ah guess dat we've seen to-night dat we've got
a Voodoo among us. Now, Mr. Travis”—here he turned to Ambrose—“we
know what Aunt Belle Agassiz done on de Mathis Plantation in Georgia—
you ought to know what Tom Blue did in Texas. So we wants to warn
you, as a fren' an' membah of dis club in good standin', dat you better
leave town to-night.”
An assenting murmur arose from the crowd, with much rolling of eyes
and nodding of heads.
Ambrose held up his hand for silence. A serious expression came over
his features, and he towered tall and straight before them.
“Gennlemen,” he said, “Ah sho appreciates yo' good sperit in dis
hyar unfo'tunate affair. But Ah tells you-all hyar an' now dat
Dominique Raffin ain't no mo' Voodoo den Ah is. Now, Ah ain't sayin'
dat he ain't a Voodoo, an' Ah ain't sayin' dat Ah am one.
All Ah says is dat Ah's as much of a Voodoo as he is—an' Ah'm
willin' to prove it!”
“How you-all do dat, Ambrose?” asked somebody.
“Ah'm comin' to dat,” replied Ambrose. “If you-all wants to decide
dis mattah beyont all doubt, Ah respekf'ly suggests dat we hold a
see-ance in dis hyar room, under any c'nditions dat you-all kin
d'vise. If Ah cain't show yo mo' supernat'ral man'festations dan he
can, Ah gives him fifty dollahs. If it's de oder way 'roun', he leaves
de city within twenty-fo' hours. Is dat fair?”
“Well, it suttinly soun's puff'cly jest,” replied Mr. Scott. “We-all
will appint a committee to frame de rules of de see-ance, an'
make 'em fair fo' both. You's been willin' to prove yo'-se'f, Ambrose,
an' yo' couldn't do mo'. If dis m'latter Voodoo don't want to do
lak'wise, he can leave dese pahts moughty sudden. Ain't dat so,
“Yassuh—he'll leave quick!” was the threatening reply.
“All right den, Ambrose,” continued the spokesman, “we'll 'range fo'
dis sperit-summonin' contes' jes' as soon as we kin. We'll have it nex'
Satiddy night at lates'. Meanwhile we-all is moughty obleeged to yo'
for yo' willin'-ness to do de right thing.”
The great night arrived, and San Juan, dressed in its gala finery,
wended its chattering way to the Senegambian seance. But beneath the
finery and the chatter ran a subtle under-current of foreboding, for
your negro is superstitious, and, well, Voodoos are Voodoos!
Dominique Raffin, dressed in somber black, went to the club alone
and unattended save by Miss Aphrodite Tate. San Juan, fearing the
Raffin mulatto and his ghostly powers, had held its respectful distance
ever since the evening when Ambrose and his rage had revealed them.
Familiarity breeding contempt, Miss Aphrodite knew her man, and feared
They found the rooms of the social club full of excited negroes, for
never before in San Juan's history had such a momentous event been
scheduled. Raffin and Aphrodite were received with a fearsome respect
by Behemoth Scott, who had been appointed master of ceremonies.
“Jes' make yo'se'f to home,” he greeted them. “Mista Travis ain't
come yit; we has ten minutes befo' de contes' styarts.”
At last, with a bare minute to spare, Ambrose smilingly entered. He
wore his splendid full-dress suit, a wonderful creation of San Juan's
leading tailor, who, at Ambrose's tasteful suggestion, had faced the
lapels with satin of the most royal purple. Set out by this background
of colourful lapel was a huge yellow chrysanthemum, while on the broad
red band that diagonally traversed his shining shirt front glittered
like a decoration, the insignia from his Swalecliffe uniform cap.
“Good evenin', folks,” was his cheerful greeting. “If you-all is
quite ready fo' dis see-ance, an' provided mah—er—wuthy
opponent am ready, Ah'd jes' as soon pro_ceed.”
Miss Aphrodite gazed on the imposing figure of Ambrose with more
than a little admiration. Comparing him with the trembling Raffin, she
found much in his favour.
All but his footwear. Accustomed as she had become to the glistening
patent leathers affected by Raffin, Ambrose's clumsy congress gaiters
somewhat marred his gorgeousness. Nevertheless, she felt her affections
wavering. Her speculations were interrupted by the voice of the master
“Ladies an' gennlemen,” began Mr. Scott, “we-all has d 'cided to
form a circle of twelve of our membahs wif dese two Voodoo gennlemen
asettin' opp'site each oder in de circle. In o'dah to preclude any
poss'bility of either Mista Travis or Mista Raffin from leavin' dere
places, we has d'cided to tie dem to dere cheers by ropes passed 'roun'
dere bodies an' fastened to de backs of de cheers. De lights will den
be distinguished. When he lights is tu'ned out, Mista Raffin will be
given fifteen minutes in which to summon de supernat'ral
proofs—whatevah dey may be—of his bein' Voodoo. Den Mista Travis will
be given his chanct.”
Amid the hushed whisperings of the assemblage the committee, six men
and six women, Aphrodite included, took their places in the circle.
Ambrose and the mulatto were seated opposite each other and were
perhaps twelve feet apart. Raffin, nervously licking his lips, sat bolt
upright while members of the committee passed ropes around him and the
back of his chair, and tied his hands. In direct contrast to his rival,
Ambrose slouched down in his seat and joked with the trembling members
as they secured him in his place.
Those not on the committee crowded close to the chair backs of the
circle in order that nothing should escape them. The excitement was
tense, and everyone was breathing hard. When all was ready Mr. Behemoth
Scott took his place in the circle. Drawing a long breath and grasping
his chair for support, he spoke in a hushed and husky voice: “All
raidy, now? Ah asks silence from eve'body. Turn out de lights”!
At the fateful words Stygian darkness enveloped the crowded room.
The shades had been drawn and not the faintest ray from the dim street
lights penetrated the place. It was stifling hot, and the assembled
investigators were perspiring freely....
Silence—black, awe-inspired silence! Two hundred pairs of
superstitious eyes peered into the horrible gloom—two hundred pairs of
ears strained at the tomblike stillness. The suspense was awful, and
none dared move. Occasionally some familiar sound came from the world
outside: the clang of the Tenth Avenue car or the whistle of a tugboat
out in the river, but these sounds were of another existence—they
seemed distant and unfamiliar and wholly out of place in the mystery
and terror of the Voodoo seance.
The minutes slid by, and nothing happened. The suspense was worse
than ever. Something stirred in the circle. Two hundred hearts missed a
beat. Then the whining, terror-stricken voice of the mulatto broke the
stillness: “Let Travis try,” he whispered hoarsely. “My spirits will
not come until 'e 'as tried. Let 'im try fo' fifteen minutes, and when
'e 'as failed I will summon the ghost of Bula-Wayo, the king of all the
tribes of the Niger. But let Travis try first!” This last almost
A moment more of silence and Ambrose's deep voice boomed forth in
“Ah's willin',” he declared. “Anythin' dat now appears will be mah
doin'—ten minits is all Ah asks. Am dat sat'sfact'ry?”
“Yaas,” replied the voice of Behemoth Scott. “Go ahaid wif yo'
sperit-summonin', Mista Travis.”
“Ah'll cawncentrate now,” replied Ambrose, “an' sho'tly you-all will
witness ample proof of mah bein' a genuine Voo-doo. Ah's stahtin
Silence more terrible than ever fell upon the waiting negroes.
Then—horror of horrors! a peculiar grating, rustling sound came from
the vicinity of Ambrose—a slight creaking—and again silence. The
investigators held hands of neighbours who trembled from sheer panic,
whose breath came hard and panting from this awful suspense!
Another creaking, as though Ambrose had shifted his weight in his
Then—baleful—in its green, ghastly glow—a dim, indistinct light
shone in the centre of the circle! Moving slowly, like a newly awakened
spirit, it waved in the very midst of the gasping committee. Back and
forth, up and down, it moved—glowing, vaporous, ghostly. Two hundred
pairs of bulging eyes saw the horror—and realized that it was an
enormous hand, terribly deformed!
Some one moaned with terror—a woman screamed. “De hand ob death!”
shrieked a man. “Run—run fo' yo' lives!”
The stampede was spontaneous! Chairs were overturned and tables
smashed in this frightful panic in the dark. No one thought of turning
on the lights—everyone's sole aim was to leave that appalling shining
hand—and get out!
A crashing on the stairway marked where Raffin, chair and all, was
making his fear-stricken way to the street. In one brief minute the
place was apparently empty save for Ambrose. Still tied to his chair,
he inquired: “Is any one hyar?”
For a second there was silence, then the dulcet tones of Miss
Aphrodite fell on the big negro's ear: “Ah's hyar, Ambrose,” she said.
“Well, den”—recognizing her voice—“would you mine lightin' de gas
till Ah can tie mahself loose from dis hyar throne ob glory?”
In a moment a feeble gaslight shone, disclosing Aphrodite—somewhat
disarranged by the panic—standing smiling in front of the erstwhile
Voodoo. She looked down at his feet. There, sure enough, one huge
member was unshod and stockingless; the elastic-slit congress gaiter,
lost in the shuffle, lay out of the radius of Ambrose's long leg. Miss
Aphrodite picked it up and, stooping, slipped it over his mighty toes,
noticing as she did so the thick coating of phosphorescent paint that
still covered them.
“Ambrose,” she whispered, “Ah wasn't scaired. No ghos' eber was bohn
dat had han's de size ob yo' feet!”
An embarrassed silence followed; the gas jet flickered weakly; then
Ambrose said: “Untie mah han's, Aphrodite—Ah'd jes' lak to hug you!”
“Oh, Ambrose,” she cried coyly. But she untied the rope just the
Again came silence, broken only by a certain strange sound. Then
Ambrose's voice came softly through the gloom: “Aphrodite,” it said,
“yo' lips am jes' lak plush!”